Hearts at Rest - Linda Miller

by Linda Landry
Hearts at Rest (Celtic Lullabies) is true to its promise, and offers Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, Breton and English melodies that will soothe the weary spirit. English lyrics predominate, with some verses in French, Welsh, and Gaelic.

Simply put, it is one sweet gem of an album.

The occasional lullabye may find its way onto children's albums, but this CD is in a different class altogether. Somewhere, you know that Linda Miller is singing before a microphone, but everything about the recording--from the discreet, delicate arrangements, to the warm intimacy of the vocals--evokes a mother singing to the infant cradled in her arms.

But infants shouldn't be the only ones to smile and coo, and eventually yield to "Dream Angus" while listening to this album. Had a rough day? See if you don`t feel more serene after listening to a verse or two.

Here, Linda Miller's vocals are matched with uniformly high-caliber musicians, including James Stephens (violin, viola, harmonium, mandolin, harmony vocals) and Nathan Curry (guitar, cittern, bodhran, finger cymbals, mandolin). And Nathan contributes lead vocals on `John of Dreams`. These are musicians who understand not only the beauty of the notes but also the importance of silences between them. Even though seven other musicians also contribute to this CD, the arrangements (by Linda, James, and the seven) use the instruments sparingly, varying the combinations from tune to tune: no overload. The vocals remain in the foreground, where they should be. The players never lose sight of the fact that these are lullabies, and everything is tailored to that context.

Hearts at Rest is a patchwork of songs and moods, by turns yearning, playful, and soothing, set in a land of fairies, angels, wee birds cold nights, and warm fires. Curl up and enjoy.

Hearts at Rest - Canal Records 1997.

1. Dance to your Daddy
2. Little Red Bird
3. Fais Dodo
4. Baloo Balerie
5. I`ve Found my Bonny Babe a Nest/My Simging Bird
6. John of Dreams
7. Cradle Song
8. Suo Gen
9. Shoheen Shoho
10. Gartan Mother`s Lullaby
11. Dream Angus
12. Flowers in the Meadow

Linda Miller-	vocals
Frank Cassidy-	whistle
Nathan Curry-	guitar, cittern, bodhran, finger cymbals, mandolin, vocals
John Geggie-	upright bass
Duncan Gillis-	whistle
Don Kavanagh-	whistling
Tadhg O Muiris-	celtic harp
Debbie Quigley-	uillean pipes, harmony whistle
Ian Robb-	concertina
James Stephens-	violin, viola, harmonium, mandolin, harmony vocals

Copyright 1997 Wil Macaulay

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